Cai Guo Qiang's Gunpowder Drawing Process Open to the Public
Reported by contemporary art writer Ms. Hisako Hara
It was announced at the Obihiro horserace track, the Demeter exhibition
site that an open gunpowder drawing would begin soon. One day before
the opening, everyone was extra busy with their own work, but wanted
to see Mr. CaiÅfs drawing process, as well.
Right before he began his drawing, Mr. Cai said that he wanted to
change the work place from the space in front of the racehorse stand
to the Interzone area where he could avoid the wind. However, because
of construction regulations, they could not start a fire there,
so he agreed to do the drawings in front of the stand as scheduled.
While audience came around to watch Mr. Cai, the panel was carried
over. There was a problem: Mr. Cai found out that the type of materials
that he usually uses were not all there in the box which contained
Mr. Cai squatted down next to the panel, not knowing what he should
do. The staff members started to panic. Soon, it was decided to
do the drawing with the available materials. As it was announced
that the drawing would proceed, people came back right away. A piece
of cardboard was cut in a shape of a UFO. After Mr. Cai placed the
gunpowder and fuse, the cardboard was placed in the center of a
piece of paper. Young volunteer workers collected stones and placed
them on the cardboard as if it was some kind of ritual. Then, it
Mr. Cai asked people to stand back to avoid danger.
The tense moment passed really quickly. After it sparked with explosive
noise, the assistant workers around the paper pressed towels on
the trace of fire, so that they would not burn the paper longer
People applauded. In a white space, a small gunpowder drawing was
done and the open drawing finished in one and half hours. We knew
when it was completed because Mr. Cai finally looked relaxed!
They still had to work on the installation of the UFO balloon. The
Chinese staff went to the work site as soon as they arrived at the
exhibition site here in Obihiro. A typhoon is approaching and it
is raining hard at four oÅfclock in the morning now. The staff
members are still working on the UFO installation.